By Amanda Stewart
July 6, 2016
Anyone who sees suspicious activity on Fort Belvoir, or wherever they are, should report it, according to Belvoir’s Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
On the installation, suspicious activity can be reported to the Fort Belvoir police department at 703-806-3105. Outside of the installation, suspicious activity should be reported to the local law enforcement agency.
On the installation, examples of suspicious activity and objects include people taking photographs and concealing what they are doing; people wearing bulky clothing that could conceal objects; and unattended packages left near buildings, said Richard Blackledge, Anti-Terrorism Program manager at DPTMS Plans Division, Protection Branch.
In addition to keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, people should be aware of their surroundings when visiting crowded areas and events in the summer months, Blackledge said.
In large, crowded, public spaces, people should “look for places that are easily escapable and for emergency exits. Always have an escape plan in mind,” he said.
When attending crowded places and events with children and other family members, people should designated a meeting place in case they get separated, in addition to identifying easy exit routes and hiding spots in the event of an emergency, Blackledge said.
“We don’t want people not to enjoy themselves, we just want them to be aware of their surroundings and to teach their family members to be aware of their surroundings, to enforce that,” he said.
Suspicious events on Fort Belvoir can also be reported online through the iWatch system. The web-based system, which can be accessed through Fort Belvoir’s home page or online at https://iwatcharmy.org, prompts users to enter details about the suspicious event, person or object they saw or heard, including any actions observed, words heard, a description of the people or vehicles involved, and location and time of the incident.
Anyone who witnesses something suspicious, or who thinks they may have done so, should report it, even if they feel the information they have is not complete, Blackledge said.
Several people may have partial information about an incident and even partial reports can help officials investigate it, he said.
“It helps them to be able to put the pieces together,” Blackledge said.
Blackledge said the installation does receive reports of suspicious activity, but he believes many things may still be going unreported.
“People are not sure if they should report it or not, if it’s really suspicious or not,” he said.
Blackledge said he advises people to rely on their instincts to determine whether something is suspicious and should be reported.
“What I tell people is if it makes the hair on the back of our neck stand up, or if you get that weird tingling feeling, say something,” he said.